TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

News Now

  • GOP debates: The day after
  • GOP debates: Naughty – facts
  • Kurds & US in ISIS offensive
  • Veterans Day remembered
  • Missouri students accused: Threats against blacks
  • Netanyahu: “Europe should be ashamed”
  • Louisiana cop shooting of boy: Motive?
  • Smoking ban? Public housing
GOP Debates: The Day After (AP, Politico, me)
• Donald Trump on on MSNBC Wed repeated calls for mass deportations of people in the U.S. illegally. He touted President Dwight Eisenhower’s efforts in the 1950s as proof. When pressed on how he could carry out the deportation of millions, Trump said “you’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely.” (no, you’re not – the name alone…)
• Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla), in Iowa, said those applying to remain legally would have to pass a criminal background check, pay a fine and learn English, among other things. They would then get a “work permit” for 10 years. The Democratic National Committee said he was trying to win over Trump supporters while turning his back on families with a story similar to his own
• Ben Carson, at Liberty University in Virginia, warned: “The secular progressives don’t care whether you agree with them or not, as long as you sit down and keep your mouth shut, and I think that the secret to the prosperity in this nation is we must be willing to stand up for what we believe in.” (er – seeing as the “secular progressive” media report on everything he says…)
• In Iowa, Gov Chris Christie (R-NJ) said he was happy with his performance in the undercard debate. “I’m in. My donors are excited. I’ve gotten great reaction, just in the last 15 hours or so, since everything was over.” (kind of done with the undercard debate, myself)
• An upbeat former Gov Jeb Bush (R-Fla), also in Iowa, (bit overcrowded overvthere in Iowa) said he was pleased with his debate performance, as he made his way through a crowded corner of a Hy Vee grocery store in Johnston, pouring coffee at the store’s annual Veteran’s Day breakfast (being awake is his version of success in a debate)


• Democratic 2016er Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump’s call for a “deportation force” on Wednesday: “The idea of tracking down and deporting 11 million people is absurd, inhumane, and un-American. No, Trump. -H” Clinton tweeted (Politico)


GOP Debates: Naughty, Naughty (AP, me)
• Donald Trump declared himself a “stablemate” with Russian President Vladimir Putin because both were on the same TV program. Carly Fiorina claimed a “private meeting.” Trump and Putin both appeared on the same 60 Minutes – he in New York, Putin in Moscow. Fiorina had a chance meeting in a holding room before she and Putin addressed a Beijing conference (umm)
• Ben Carson: “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” Actually, no. When the minimum wage was increased in 1996 and 1997, unemployment rate fell afterward. In June 2007, when the first of three annual increases came in, the unemployment rate was unchanged until the Great Recession hit six months later (more in story)
• Marco Rubio: “Welders make more money than philosophers.” Not so, on average. Good point that the U.S. has failed to invest in vocational training. PayScale, a firm that analyzes compensation, put the median midcareer income for philosophy majors at $81,200 in 2008, with welders making $26,002 to $63,698
• Ted Cruz: Holding out hand and unfolding one finger at a time: “Five major agencies that I would eliminate: The IRS, the Dept of Commerce, the Dept of Energy, uh, the Dept of Commerce, and HUD. (Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard – same mistake pretty much sunk then-Texas Gov Rick Perry. 5: Dept of Education – think Cruz still needs that one)
• Donald Trump: President Dwight Eisenhower “moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country … we have no choice.” Eisenhower oversaw a deportation program in 1954. It was criticized for violating the civil rights of deportees. Historians say the figure of 1.3 million people deported under “Operation Wetback” was inflated. Now there’s a 456,000-case court backlog…
• Breaking: AP reports that Ben Carson maintains a lucrative business relationship with a close friend and convicted felon who defrauded insurance companies. Carson testified on his behalf, even as the GOP candidate has called for such crimes to be punished very harshly. Dentist Alfonso Costa avoided jail time after Carson testified on his behalf
Kurds & US Open Offensive to Cut ISIS Supply Route (NYT, AP, me)
• A ground offensive backed by American air power to retake the western Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS fighters began early today, according to a Kurdish official. The objective was to cut a major jihadist supply line between Syria and the Iraqi city of Mosul
• The aim is to add pressure on ISIS fighters who are being pressed militarily in northeast Syria; are partly encircled in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province in Iraq; and were recently evicted from Baiji in northern Iraq. Still, the op faces several important military and political challenges
• Even if the Sinjar campaign succeeds, ISIS still has a stranglehold on vital areas in the region, including the city of Mosul – Iraq’s second largest – and large swaths of eastern Syria and western Iraq. That includes most of the Sunni Arab heartland of Anbar Province, where a govt-led military push has advanced – but not moved to retake it yet


• Raw: Kurds launch offensive to retake ISIS-held town of Sinjar (AP)
• Preparations for the Sinjar offensive have been underway for weeks, and ISIS has been sending reinforcements, Kurdish Gen Waizi said. With more than a year to dig in, they’re believed to have made plans for a counterstrike. They have used IEDs throughout the conflict to create dense minefields. Many of the houses in Sinjar are believed rigged with explosives
• After a year of occupation by ISIS, as well as American airstrikes and constant skirmishes, Sinjar is a wreck. Kurdish officials don’t plan to immediately return civilians there or to quickly rebuild the town, which could remain vulnerable to occasional attacks from ISIS. There’s also friction over who will control the area if ISIS were to be pushed out
• President Barzani, the leader of the pesh merga and autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, is overseeing the op. Before ISIS took over northern Iraq, the area was a political stronghold for Barzani’s KDP. But many Yazidis – based almost entirely around Mount Sinjar before ISIS’s advance – blame the pesh merga for failing to prevent Sinjar’s fall in the first place
Veterans Day  (USA Today, Hill, AP, WaPo, TRNS, me)
• At an observance at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, President Obama asked his fellow countrymen to keep veterans in their thoughts long after the annual Veterans Day holiday. Obama said the Dept of Veterans Affairs is getting a bigger budget and making progress on entrenched problems (bigger budget for bigger bonuses? read on…)
• “Still, the unacceptable problems that we’ve seen, like long wait times and some veterans not getting the timely care that they need, is a challenge for all of us if we are to match our words with deeds,” Obama said. He said his message to every veteran is “that I am still not satisfied.”
• Meanwhile, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in DC, a ceremony honored the 305 American soldiers who were killed in the first big land battle in Vietnam, 50 years ago on 14 November, the Battle of la Drang Valley. Now, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, founded by Vietnam veterans, raises money to tell the story of every name etched into the 3-acre wall


• Also Wednesday, a couple dozen servicemen and women marched to the WH and dumped a large box of empty pill containers, calling on the president and other federal officials to make medical marijuana accessible to veterans. “Here’s what the over-medication of our veterans looks like,” they said as they spilled the canisters. “We don’t want it.”

• VA officials collected more than $142 million in bonuses in 2014, the same year the agency was under fire for protracted delays in giving veterans treatment and fake patient wait lists, USA Today reported Wed. Roughly 156,000 execs, managers and employees received bonuses. The average bonus was $900 (how can this actually even happen? – stand by for fun hearings…)
• The payouts include $4,000 to $8,000 bonuses for officials who managed the construction of a Denver facility that’s more than $1 billion over budget. An exec who was the subject of a report detailing mismanagement at a facility in St Cloud, Minn, also took in a performance bonus of $4,000. The VA says the bonuses are to attract and retain employees

• Out Magazine, which bills itself the world’s leading gay fashion and lifestyle brand, features Barack Obama as the first sitting president to sit for a portrait by the LGBT magazine. Out names Obama “Ally of the Year” and has him on its cover in black and white and wearing an enigmatic smile (Bloomberg, me)

Missouri Students Accused: Threats Against Blacks (USA Today, WSJ, AP, me)
• University of Missouri police arrested Hunter Michael Park, 19, Wednesday, a student at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, part of the University of Missouri, over threats made on social media. He’ll be arraigned this afternoon. Park allegedly threatened to “shoot every black person I see” on anonymous social media app Yik Yak
• Northwest Missouri State University student Connor Stottlemyre, 19, was arrested on suspicion of making a terrorist threat after he allegedly posted a threat on Yik Yak that read “I’m going to shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready.” (what the hell is wrong with some young white men?)
• Three top administrators from Mizzou posted a statement on the school’s website Wed lamenting that people in the community “have suffered threats against their lives and humanity” and calling such threats “reprehensible.”


• Back in September, the student govt president reported that people shouted racial slurs at him from a passing pickup truck, galvanizing a protest movement. Last week, a graduate student went on a hunger strike to demand the resignation of university system president Tim Wolfe over his handling of racial complaints

• Then more than 30 members of the Missouri football team refused to practice or play in support of the hunger strike. It all came to a head Monday with the resignation of Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin
• A threat forced the evacuation Tuesday night of the university’s culture center where members of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus was meeting with students. Meanwhile, Chuck Henson, a black law professor and associate dean, was appointed Tuesday as the university’s first ever interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity
• The Board of Curators met for three hours Wednesday evening in an emergency closed session, but made no announcement afterwards. Board member John Phillips emerged and said, “Nothing to share tonight. There may be something tomorrow.”



• Watch the Donald Trump SNL sketch apparently “cut for time” and quietly released on Wednesday. So utterly God-awful they didn’t even air it during Saturday’s #fail episode. Worse: The Simpsons did the same joke funnier and in less time four months ago – be brave, gentle viewer, and watch (me, Daily Beast, SNL)


Netanyahu: “Europe Should Be Ashamed” (WaPo, Politico, me)
• Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu slammed an EU decision Wednesday on labeling products from Israeli settlements, likening it to the Nazis’ treatment of Jewish businesses. “The labeling of products of the Jewish state by the EU brings back dark memories, Europe should be ashamed of itself,” he said during a visit to DC
• The rules, which the European Commission has been working on since 2012, mean Israeli firms selling their goods in Europe will need to differentiate between products made in Israel and those produced in Israeli settlements. EC VP Valdis Dombrovskis said the move was a “technical issue, not a political stance
• The EU doesn’t recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, namely the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and considers the Israeli settlements built on those lands to be illegal under international law. It will prob impact less than 2% of Israeli-related exports
• State Dept deputy spox Mark Toner on Wed said, “We oppose efforts to isolate or delegitimize the state of Israel.” He declined to define the European move as a boycott. Toner repeated the long-standing U.S. position that “settlements are illegitimate, and they’re harmful to prospects to peace and Israel’s long term security.” (soo boycott-ish, then?)
• A bipartisan letter by 36 senators, led by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), said the labeling “appears intended to discourage Europeans from purchasing these products” and “promote a de facto boycott of Israel, a key ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East.”

• Am I going to comment on Matt Drudge’s latest nasty campaign against Hillary Clinton – this one that she’s wearing a wig? That’s he’s deleted all of his tweets, except for five. in which he talks about her hair? Not really. I’ll just point out that Drudge chooses to be photographed wearing a very large hat


Louisiana Cop Shooting of Boy: Motive? (Advocate, WAFB, AP, me)
• Sources say that Norris Greenhouse, 23, one of the officers involved in the Marksville, La, shooting that killed 6-year-old autistic Jeremy Mardis and critically injured his father, Chris Few, could walk out of jail as early as today after posting a $1 million bond. No word if Derrick Stafford, the other officer arrested, is planning to post his bond
• Megan Dixon, Few’s fiancee, said last weekend that Few had a previous run-in with Greenhouse. A former high school classmate of Dixon, Greenhouse had started messaging her on Facebook and had come by the house Few and Dixon were sharing. “I told Chris and Chris confronted him about it and told him, ‘Next time you come to my house I’m going to hurt you.'”
• Both officers have been targets of previous complaints that they used excessive force or neglected their duties. AP story (above) lists seven (unpleasant) cases, including one from 2012 in which a woman sued Stafford over allegations that he shocked her with a stun gun while she was handcuffed
• Initial reports suggested the officers were trying to serve Few with a warrant when he fled onto a dead-end road, then reversed his car in their direction. When the case ended, with Few and his son in the vehicle, the officers opened fire. Few was critically injured – his hands were up. Jeremy, who was hit about six times, was buckled into his seat

• Col Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police, said there was no evidence of a warrant or any gun recovered at the scene. Edmonson said the body cam footage was “the most disturbing thing I’ve seen and I will leave it at that.”


Smoking Ban? Public Housing (NYT, me)
• Smoking would be prohibited in public housing homes nationwide under a proposed Dept of Housing and Urban Development rule to be announced today, a move that would affect nearly one million households and open the latest front in the long-running campaign to curb unwanted exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke
• Federal officials say secondhand smoke can travel through walls and under doors; the ban will also reduce the risk of fires; and it will lower maintenance costs. The ban would also require that common areas and administrative offices on public housing property be smoke free
• “The argument about secondhand smoke is over,” HUD Sec Julian Castro said in an interview Wednesday. The prohibition would be included in a tenant’s lease and violations would be treated like other nuisance violations – usually reported by neighbors or staff and not meant to lead to evictions, Castro said
• The rule would apply to lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but doesn’t yet apply to electronic cigarettes and hookahs – but HUD is seeking comment on whether to ban those, too. “The purpose is to go smoke-free and to have healthier communities,” Castro said

• “What are they going to do, smell your apartment?” said Gary Smith, 47, a cigarette in hand as he sat sitting outside the door to a building in a Walt Whittman Houses in Fort Greene,  Brooklyn


• Watch Bei Bei, the National Zoo’s baby panda, take his adorable, first little steps – actually, more tumbling over, in a ridiculously cute sort of way

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Victoria Jones  – Editor

TRNS’ Ellen Ratner contributed to this report


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